How good are you at keeping your word? Many of us try very hard to keep our commitments to others. We try to call if we say we will. We make every effort to show up when others are counting on us. We try to get projects done on time. We don't promise things we can't deliver.

We want our word to be worth something. That's part of living with integrity.

Unfortunately, many of us are not quite as good at keeping our commitments to ourselves. How many times have you said "I'm going to. . ." only to have that intention fall away? "I'm going to slow down." "I'm going to lose weight." "I'm going to get my life in order." "I'm going to exercise regularly." "I'm going to watch less T.V. and spend more time reading." "I'm going to get to bed at a decent hour." Sound familiar?

Although we have good intentions, life circumstances often keep us from honoring them. Do we really mean what we are saying? If so, we need to make a COMMITMENT to follow through on the things we are promising ourselves in just the same way that we would if we were making those promises to someone else.

This is one of the areas where having a coach or mentor can be particularly helpful. You agree to take an action, to follow through on an intention, and you give your word through the commitment you make that you'll follow through. The coach then holds you accountable for what you've said you were going to do.

Usually, a coach doesn't scold you if you don't do what you promised, but he or she will help you look at what got in the way of you honoring your commitment. That might be important information if following through is a problem for you. Obviously, the next step will be to resolve it so that you can follow through.

Even if following through isn't a problem, having a commitment to take some action, and being held accountable for actually DOING it is very helpful. Just in case you're tempted to procrastinate, back out, or avoid doing it, you have your commitment to motivate you.

Ultimately, it ends up all coming back to your word. How much is your word worth? If you can't honor your commitments to yourself and/or others, your life is likely to feel out of control and out of balance due to not living with integrity.

If you are good at honoring your commitments to others, but don't do as well at honoring commitments to yourself, look at this issue honestly. Although they are different contexts, both commitment to self and commitment to others are important in living with integrity. You commitment to yourself is every bit as important as your commitment to others. Make that commitment to yourself first.

(c) 2009 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach, trainer and expert in helping people make big changes in their lives using her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping her clients overcome the obstacles caused by "emotional clutter"--those negative emotions and limiting beliefs that block success and happiness. For more information and free resources, go to or .